Red Wings-Islanders Preview
After opening an impressive homestand by beating the New York Islanders just over a week ago, the Detroit Red Wings are looking to carry that same success out on the road.
Coming off a 4-0-1 stay at home, Pavel Datsyuk and the Red Wings will try to open a road heavy stretch with a season sweep of the Islanders on Monday night.
Detroit (29-18-9) got two assists from Datsyuk while scoring the first five goals in a 5-1 win over New York on Feb. 6. The star center finished with five goals and four assists on the homestand after collecting three points in Sunday's 6-5 win over Boston.
The solid stretch made Datsyuk the sixth Red Wings player to reach 900 career points, and his 902 rank fifth in NHL history among players born in Russia.
"Lots of helping and supporting, and lots of teaching me, too," Datsyuk said. "Lots of giving me advice. I appreciate for all of them."
The Red Wings should appreciate Datsyuk's recent tear, which helped them climb within three points of Atlantic Division-leading Florida.
Detroit is opening a four-game trip and plays eight of its next ten away from home. The Red Wings have lost two straight on the road after winning seven of eight.
That stretch included a 4-2 win over the Islanders (29-19-6) in the club's first visit to Brooklyn on Jan. 25. Datsyuk had an assist to give him 13 points in 14 career meetings, including six in five on the road.
Dylan Larkin has gone four games without a goal after getting one against New York earlier this month. His team-high 18 goals tie Chicago's Artemi Panarin for the rookie lead and are the most by a Detroit rookie since Henrik Zetterberg's 22 in 2002-03.
Larkin has three points against the Islanders, while Tomas Tatar has six in his last five meetings.
Petr Mrazek has a 1.50 goals-against average while beating New York twice this season, including a 28-save effort this month. He's 11-2-2 with a 1.59 GAA over his last 15 games, but it's unknown if he'll start after making 17 saves Sunday.
Mrazek hasn't started on consecutive days, leaving open the possibility of Jimmy Howard getting the nod. Howard is 0-4-3 with a 3.93 GAA in his last eight starts and 1-3-1 with a 2.59 GAA in five career starts against the Islanders.
New York is looking for a much better start after surrendering the first four goals in a 6-3 loss at Carolina on Saturday that ended its three-game win streak.
"For whatever reason, we didn't start on time," coach Jack Capuano said. "You play 82 games, it's going to happen. Let's not kid ourselves."
John Tavares has 14 points in nine games after getting two in each of the last two. The All-Star center has scored a goal in four of the past five games after netting his team-leading 21st against the Hurricanes. He has four goals and 10 assists in 11 career games versus Detroit and scored on a power play Feb. 6.
Jaroslav Halak gave up four goals on 13 shots and was lifted midway through the second period. He was chased again Saturday, surrendering six on 28 shots through two.
While that may be reason enough for Capuano to start Thomas Greiss, Halak has a 3.46 GAA and .878 save percentage while going 6-6-1 in 14 games against the Wings.
Greiss has won four straight decisions with a 2.31 GAA in his last five games after making three saves Saturday.